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US | PHMSA Proposes Amendments to Hazardous Materials Regulations

Hazardous Materials Transportation

In the August 10, 2021 issue of the Federal Register, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed amending the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to maintain alignment with international regulations and standards. The proposed amendments specifically address the classification, packaging, and transportation requirements under the HMR. Comments will be received through October 12, 2021 while the final rule is developed.

PHMSA expects that adopting the proposed amendments will:
  • Maintain the high levels of safety currently achieved by the HMR
  • Facilitate the safe transportation of COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Align the HMR requirements with the expected increase in the volume of lithium batteries used in transport
Further, PHMSA anticipates that harmonizing the HMR with international consensus standards will reduce delays and interruptions in the transportation of hazardous materials and thereby reduce GHGs and lower the safety risks associated with interim storage sites that are often in the vicinity of disadvantaged communities. Specific amendments proposed by PHMSA include:
  • Incorporating by Reference | PHMSA proposes to incorporate by reference updated versions of the 2021-2022 Edition of the International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions), Amendment 40-20 to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG code), the 21st revised edition of the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods—Model Regulations (UN Model Regulations), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “Specific Transport of Radioactive Material 2018 Edition.”
  • Transport Canada Temporary Certificates | The amendments would authorize the motor carrier or rail transportation of hazardous materials within the United States pursuant to temporary certificates issued under Transport Canada’s transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.
  • Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) | PHMSA proposes amendments to the HMT found at 49 CFR part 172.101. This includes the addition of “UN3549 Category A Medical Waste, Affecting Humans, solid or Medial Waste, Category A, Affecting Animals only, solid,” which would provide an additional shipping description for materials that are not appropriate for existing entries or classes.
  • Data Loggers/Lithium Batteries | PHMSA proposes exceptions for lithium batteries that are used during transport for equipment such as data loggers, and exceptions to air transportation of these items as used in association with COVID-19 pharmaceuticals.
  • Removal of Metal Wall Thickness Requirements for Certain Metal IBCs | PHMSA proposes to remove the minimum wall thickness requirements for metal IBCs that have a capacity of 1500 liters or less.
  • Additional Packaging Under 49 CFR Part 173 | PHMSA proposes to expand authorized packaging for “UN2211, Polymeric bead, expandable evolving flammable vapor” and “UN3314, Plastic molding compound in dough, sheet or extruded rope form evolving flammable vapor.”
  • Period Inspection for Chemicals Under Pressure | PHMSA proposes to extend the required period inspection from five to ten years for cylinders filled with hazardous materials.
  • Technical Name Requirements for Marine Pollutants | PHMSA proposes amendments to the technical names for transporting hazardous materials that contain marine pollutants to provide flexibility to documentation requirements.
  • Stability Test for Nitrocellulose | PHMSA proposes adding stability testing requirements for nitrocellulose, requiring that the materials meet the criteria for the Bergmann-Junk test or methyl violet paper test.


PHMSA Proposed Amendments to Hazardous Materials: Harmonization with International Standards, 86 Fed. Reg. 43844 (Aug. 10, 2021) ____________________ Red-on-line provides personalized regulatory monitoring to help you to maintain compliance with changing EHS regulations. Click here to learn more about our software and regulatory update services, and to subscribe to our regulatory update newsletter.

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